Every teacher is a language teacher

Moving from principle to practice

This is a catch phrase much heard in education now, and is also a common statement in school language policies. Whether or not it is true in practice is debatable, for the simple fact that being a language user is not the same as being a language teacher. Becoming a language teacher, like any other specialist subject, requires targeted knowledge and skill development. An overview of language teacher training programs (p.5) shows that the knowledge and skills common to the vast majority of language teacher training programs, whether for EAL/ELL or MFL can be categorised as follows:

CEC has developed a unique professional development programme designed to help teachers acquire the knowledge and skills that are implied when we expect them to be language teachers. This whole-school programme covers a range of topics, and is in a modular format, so schools can create a programme that best serves their particular needs.

Section A: Theoretical Background

  • Understanding the English Language
  • Bilingualism in Education: Understanding your learners

Section B: Blending Theory with Practice

  • Languages in the Classroom: Key strategies and best practice
  • Literacy for Early Years/Middle Years/Secondary
  • Whole-school Collaboration for Language across the Curriculum
  • Creating Collaborative Resources
  • Assessment with Empathy and Accuracy
  • Translanguaging: At the intersection of language and learning

Section C: Specialist Topics

  • Language Development or Language Delay: Untangling the web
  • Task-based Teaching (Second language teaching methodologies)
  • School Language Policy Planning

Parents are a key part of every child's language journey, and a successful relationship between the school and home is key to success. At all schools I work with I also deliver a Parents as Language Partners session, to ensure that parents also share the same knowledge about language development as the school has, and understand their role in nurturing their children to academic and linguistic success.